>> reporter: overshadowing the debate, looming over the proceedings -- the game-changing first encounter between these men two weeks ago. >> as a president you have your own airplane and own house, not your own facts. >> romney was crisp, clear and energetic even as he baldly reinvented himself as a moderate after campaigning for a year with a very different message. >> i fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but i was a severely conservative republican governor. >> reporter: but in denver, on that debate stage, president obama failed utterly to counterpunch, looking down, avoiding eye contact, and any real confrontation. disinterested, even disheartened. >> i said i'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president and that's probably a promise governor romney thinks i've kept. >> reporter: the repercussions of that night have proved tectonic. >> we're taking back the white house. thank you so very much, thank you. >> reporter: on the campaign trail, romney is generating big crowds and new enthusiasm.